Teaching Assistantships & Other Awards

Teaching assistantships and fellowships, and other Department awards, are made on the basis of academic merit and teaching effectiveness, as determined by the graduate studies committee. Those wishing to be considered should submit a request to that effect, in writing, to the chair by February 15. The following general policies are in effect.

Once awarded at any given fraction, whether full or part-time, a teaching assistantship will not usually be changed either up or down. Students maintaining less than a B+ average in department courses are subject to having their TA-ship placed in the yearly pool for open competition.

Students who maintain at least a B+ average and have satisfactory teaching evaluations will usually be continued in a following year, up to the limit of support.

Students earning less than a straight B average in the department in a given term are not eligible for TA-ship renewal, and risk losing the TA-ship at the end of the current term. For graduate students entering as M.A. candidates, the usual tenure is three years.

For graduate students entering as Ph.D. candidates, the usual tenure is two years. In exceptional cases, financial support by the department may be extended by one year.

Teaching assistantships are usually not awarded unless a student needs course credits toward a degree, and they are not usually awarded in excess of needed credit support.

For a teaching assistantship to be renewed, a student is expected to be making normal progress toward the degree appropriate to the given level of support. Normal progress means: a) taking at least 9 credits counting toward the degree in any given term; b) taking the M.A. exams within two years, and the Ph.D. within two years beyond the M.A. For half-time assistants, this means taking at least 6 credits in any given term.

Incompletes in courses that bring a TA below the 9-credit minimum must be made up before the beginning of a subsequent academic year, or the teaching assistantship will be forfeited.

Teaching assistantships are awarded according to an overall strategy of providing support to as many qualified graduate students as possible, including incoming students. Any graduate fellowships under the specific control of the department (currently, the Elagin Fellowship) are awarded as part of this overall strategy: i.e., they are considered interchangeable with teaching assistantships and carry the same time limitations. When calculating time limitations on departmental support, the Department historically has taken into account outside fellowship support as well, but there is no established policy on this matter.